Good People,

 

A blessed Advent to you all and a joyous Christmas.

On this week’s family Zoom call this weekend I was talking about the challenge of preaching during Advent using the Scripture lessons which focus on the second coming of Christ. My cousin commented, “That’s right. Lutherans don’t celebrate Christmas during December when everyone else does but after Christmas when no one does.”

That’s right. Even if I am but one of the few that does so.

In the past I have talked about the stress of trying to celebrate Christmas while also preparing for Christmas. I would urge people and say, “It’s far better to do your preparation first and then celebrate leisurely and fully without hurry and pressure. The 12 days of Christmas start on December 25 and end on January 5, the day before the feast of Epiphany, which celebrates the coming of the magi.”

But we all get caught up in the commercial Christmas, which is all about buying, buying, buying.  Then, as soon as Christmas day is done, the tree goes on the curb, and the world starts celebrating the New Year by buying, buying, buying. This year we will be singing Christmas carols on Sunday, January 1, the eighth day of Christmas, New Year’s Day, a week after Christmas. It all depends on how you view it.

This month I have read the assigned readings for Advent with new eyes. I have been paying attention to the visions of the prophet Isaiah in which “swords will be made into plowshares” (guns into tractors in today’s weaponry) and in which “the wolf shall live with the lamb.” These visions are either an impossibility, utter foolishness, or, perhaps, the future.

The vision of the future that seems most prevalent is that of a coming global cataclysm. Religious folks tend to see the second coming of Christ being like a second Noah’s Ark in which a few righteous persons will be rescued while the majority will be smashed into oblivion. The nonreligious world expects the same thing, only it is an ecological disaster or a third global war which dooms us all.

So, what is your vision of the future? Is it better, worse, or the same as the present?

What are you working on bringing into being that is not yet here and maybe never will be in your lifetime?

One way to answer these questions is to examine your Christmas preparations. Why do you do what you do? What are you trying to accomplish? Recreate a past that never really was? Prove to yourself and others that you are a good person? Be shaped into the person you long to become?

Peace, 

Pastor Doug

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